Retired Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson has defended his compatriot and Kings XI Punjab team-mate Glenn Maxwell and said that he is suffering from a similar public misperception that dogged Shane Watson throughout his career.
The attacking Australian batsman has faced criticism throughout his short cricket career for his unorthodox batting style. The critics always targeted him for his interest in glamorous shots rather than playing according to the situation.
Earlier this year, Maxwell spoke openly about how the public criticism has hurt him in recent years and how he was working hard to change opinions.
He made some good progress in his effort to win the fans’ admiration as he played some vital innings in last few months. He has batted at an average of almost 45 in his past 20 one-day internationals while he averaged 56 in six Sheffield Shield matches last summer.
But his critics have once again raised their head as he is struggling to find his rhythm in the on-going IPL. Five single digit scores in seven matches so far have made the doubters and critics vocals more than ever.
“People don’t realise how committed he is to the team and how much he wants to win,” Johnson said of Maxwell in his column for News Corp.
“The perception of him is similar to Shane Watson. He’s seen so differently by the public to what he is actually like.
“Every time Maxy goes onto the field he wants to win the game, he wants to do it himself and he will do everything that he can to make that happen.
“He backs himself to play unconventional shots, something that not everybody likes. But that’s what Twenty20 cricket is about, that’s what it has brought the game. It’s brought it entertainment and he’s an entertaining player.
“When it comes off everyone raves about it for days, but when it doesn’t – like against the Kolkata Knight Riders – they’ll sledge him and say that it was a bad shot. But he doesn’t care; he just wants to play the brand of cricket that he loves to play.
“Once it clicks you’re going to see something different from Maxy.”
While there is no denying the fact that Maxwell is unorthodox but one cannot deny his effectiveness with the bat. He played a vital role in Australia’s successful 50-over World Cup, was one of the prime reasons for KXIP’s inspired show in 2014 IPL when they finished second and it is just a matter of time before he gets back his form.